A book your child might actually read
The new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book, “The Last Straw,” is out. If you don’t understand why I found it front and center as I walked into the Borders on State Street in Chicago this morning, then you probably don’t have a child about junior high age. For the uninitiated, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” tells the continuing story of Greg Heffley, a self-described “good at nothing” sixth-grader who has to fend off, well, all the things a sixth-grader has to fend off. The book is written like a journal, with lined paper and comic asides. The author, Jeff Kinney, wrote this first in blog form, in his spare time from creating sites such as the tween-and-teen online roleplaying game Poptropica. Unlike Greg Heffley, Jeff Kinney is good at something.
One of Greg’s nagging problems is his father, Frank, who is constantly pushing him to join sports, mostly swimming and, in this new book, soccer. It’s said 75 percent (or whatever number people pull out of their asses) of kids quit sports by age 13 is because it isn’t fun, mostly because of yelling coaches and overbearing parents. Looking at it from Greg’s point of view, they quit because they never felt like being out there in the first place.
I’m not trying to be deep. The books are funny. And it should not come as news to anyone that you cannot dissuade your child from playing video games, wearing his mother’s bathrobe or killing time with his dim-witted friend just by frog-marching him onto a field. Or frog-marching him into any other activity, for that matter.
UPDATE: Four hours after the original post, and two-and-a-half hours after I handed him the book, my 11-year-old finished it. He reports that Greg’s father, frustrated by his son’s lack of interest and ability in sports (like he did in T-ball, Greg spends his time as a soccer goalie picking at dandelions), decides he wants to send him to military school. Hilarity ensues.